Friday, February 28, 2014


Day 20 of our trip!  And it's almost time for us to go home!  Can't wait to get back to the good old USA!

It’s Time for Us to Go (Arlene Middendorf) 
(Tune: “The Farmer in the Dell”)
It’s time for us to go.
It’s time for us to go.
Say good-bye to all your friends.
It’s time for us to go.
We’ve had a busy day.
We’ve learned a lot today.
Say good-bye to all your friends.
It’s time for us to go.

Positional Words (Michelle Chevillet)
Each month choose a different object to hide in the classroom. (For example, a leprechaun in March, a rabbit in April, a flower in May, etc.) Let the children name the object. Each day use the “fair sticks” to pick a child’s name. That child gets to find the hidden object and use a complete sentence to tell where the object is hiding. For example: “The leprechaun is hiding behind the bookshelf.”
*Fair Sticks – Let each child write her name on a stick and place it in a cup on the teacher’s desk. The teacher chooses sticks for special jobs. After they’ve had a turn the teacher keeps them in her desk drawer. When all the sticks are gone and everyone has had a turn, start all over again.

Ready for Writing Rap (Traci Wade)
1, 2…sit up, please do.
3, 4…feet flat on the floor.
5, 6…push your chair in quick.
7, 8…lay your paper straight.
9,10…write neatly then.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Day 19 of our trip!  St. Patrick's Day is right around our corner.  Here are some "golden" ideas to add to your lesson plans.

St Patrick’s Day!
(Tune: “Sweet Molly Malone”)
On the 17th of March (Point heels on opposite feet as if doing a jig.)
About when spring starts
The lassies and leprechauns
Come out to play.
We’ll find four-leafed clovers (Hold up 4 fingers.)
And wear green all over, (Move hands over clothing.)
And that’s how we’ll celebrate (Put hand in the air as if cheering.)
St. Patrick’s Day!

The legends of old
Say there’re pots of gold (Extend arms in a circle.)
A’ sparkling and shining (Open and close fingers to make sparkles.)
At each rainbow’s end.
The leprechauns know (Point to brain.)
Right where to go,
So if you see a leprechaun (Hand over eyes as if searching for
Make him your friend! a leprechaun.)

Hunting for Gold - Spray paint pebbles or rocks gold. (Spread out on newspaper. Spray with gold paint. Dry. Shake. Spray the other side with gold paint. Dry. Shake. Spray a third time.) Hide the pebbles on the playground before children arrive at school. Tell the children a leprechaun hid some gold for them. What fun they will have hunting for the gold nuggets!

Hint! Need a little bucket for collecting that gold? Hole punch opposite sides of a plastic cup. Insert a pipe cleaner handle and you’ve got a perfect “pot of gold.”

What If? Have children write stories (or draw pictures and dictate) what they would do if they found a pot of gold.

Leprechaun Mischief – While the children are at lunch or on the playground, turn over a few chairs, put books on the floor, and mess up the classroom. Sprinkle a little green glitter around. Have the children write stories about what they think happened.

Catch a Leprechaun - Challenge children to design “traps” to catch a leprechaun in the block center. Give children an empty sack out on the playground and see who can catch a leprechaun.

Green Snack – Eat foods that are green like celery, broccoli, lime jello, snap peas, edamame, etc. You could also use green food coloring to dye cream cheese, milk, yogurt or other snacks.

Leprechaun Lunch – Purchase miniature peanut butter crackers (Ritz), cookies (Chips Ahoy), and other mini-foods. Serve these on dessert plates with napkins cut in fourths. Milk or juice in medicine cups makes this a perfect snack for “wee folks.”

Field Trip - Take a field trip (on the internet) to Ireland. Find Ireland on the globe. How could you get there? Could you go in a car? Why or why not?

Math Manipulatives – Spread out dry lima beans on a newspaper. Spray paint one side gold. Dry. Flip over and spray paint the other side gold. These golden nuggets are perfect for making sets, adding, and subtracting.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Day 18 of our trip!  March winds will be blowing us home soon!

Five Little Kites
(Download the book at
One, two, three, four, five little kites (Hold up fingers as you count.)
Flying up in the sky (Fly fingers in the air.)
Said “hi” to the clouds as they passed by, (Pretend to wave to clouds.)
Said “hi” to the birds, said “hi” to the sun, (Wave.)
Said “hi” to the airplanes, oh what fun. (Wave.)
Then “swish” went the wind, (Move hand down in a
And they all took a dive: swooping motion.)
One, two, three, four, five. (Hold up fingers one at a time and count.)

Paper Plate Kite
- Cut the inner section out of a paper plate. Decorate the rim with markers. Glue tissue paper streamers to one side. Punch a hole and tie a piece of string on the other side. Go outside and run to make your kite fly.

Kite Experiments – Let children make kites out of lunch sacks, plastic bags, and other materials. Have them predict which one will fly best. Experiment to see which one is best. Why did some work better than others?

Kite Tales – Ask each child to write a story about what it would be like to be a kite. What could you see? What could you hear? How would you feel? What would you do?

Lion or Lamb? Explain the quote, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Every day ask children what kind of day it is, and then let them color a “lion” or a “lamb” on the calendar. Graph "lion" and "lamb" days and compare at the end of the month.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Day 17 of our trip!

E E K K Reading Buddies
(Penny Baran)
Two students sit elbow to elbow and knee to knee. One student uses her book and the other student gets to choose the spot where they will read. The student on the left reads the left side of the book. The student on the right reads the right side of the book. When they finish, they can switch sides and read another book.

My City and State (Tune: “I Had a Little Turtle”)
Here I am in name of state
Living happily!
All my friends and relatives are
Nice as they can be!
City, I love you!
City, is my home!
State is my state
For this we celebrate!

Our Town Blocks
Take photographs of the post office, police station, school, and other stores and places in your community. Tape them to unit blocks so children can use them in the block center to build and drive around with little cars.

Occupation in a Bag (Megan Pope)
When studying community helpers, send home a paper bag with each student. Ask them to put in items that explain what their parents do. This is great for parents who are too busy to come in and speak about their jobs.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Day 16 of our trip!

SMART Board/Whiteboard Contestants (Julie Cunday)
Child’s name come on down.
You’re the next contestant on
Name that number (letter, etc.).

Who Let the Words Out?

Use the same chant as, “Who let the A out /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/” and insert word
wall words.
For example, “Who let AND out? AND, AND, AND!”
*Hint! Hold up flash cards or point to the words on the wall.

Whoosh Cheer! (Lisa Lorance)
Clap three times and then put your arms in the air as you say, “WHOOSH!”

Check It Out! Cheer (Teresa Nicks)
Use this cheer when a child answers a question correctly:
“Check it out! Check it out!
Child’s name knows what he’s (she’s) talking about!”
Pretend to touch index finger to tongue and then hold up as you say,
“Psssss!” (Like it’s really hot!)

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Day 15 of our trip! 

Cutting Song (Ange Bennett)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
Our thumb is on the top when we cut.
Our thumb is on the top when we cut.
Put your scissors in your hand
Make sure your thumb is the top man.
Our thumb is on the top when we cut.

Name Nursery Rhymes (Jennie Adamas & Delilah Mitchell)
When doing nursery rhymes, substitute student’s names. For example: Instead of “Jack and Jill when the hill” say, “Joe and Sophia went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Joe fell down…”
*Substitute the names of school personnel, such as the principal, librarian, etc. in rhymes.

Magic Triangle (Cathy Crady)
Teach children how to self-regulate and focus with their magic triangle in their pocket. Place fingertips next to each other to form a triangle. When they need to calm down or if a child is upset have them take out their magic triangle and hold it in front of their mouth. Tell them to take a deep breath in through their nose, and then slowly blow through the triangle.
Smell and Blow (Marty Reedy)
Here’s another idea to help children cope. Tell them to slowly smell the hot chocolate and breath through the nose. Then blow out the candles as you exhale through the mouth.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Day 14 of our trip!

Circle Flash Cards
(Carol Blackmon)
Make circle flash cards for each child and store in butter tubs.

Book It Program

If you visit, you can get great ideas for encouraging parents to read with their children at home. There are parent letters in English and Spanish, reading logs for each month, and other free packets for teachers.

I Have Manners (Tune: “Are You Sleeping?”)
I have manners, I have manners,
Every time, every day.
When there’s something I want,
When there’s something I want,
I say please. I say please.

I have manners, I have manners,
Every time, every day.
When someone is nice to me
These are words I say,
Thank you friend. Thank you friend.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Day 13 of our trip! 

Abracadabra! (Emily Hilbig)
Close your eyes and pretend to wave a magic wand as you say:
I want my friends to make good choices
I like sitting on their bottoms
and using inside voices.”
Snap your fingers and open your eyes.
Class Chant
Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we are
So we tell them,
We are (grade level)
Mighty, mighty (grade level). (Show muscles.)
_ _ _ _ _ (Spell out school’s name.)
(School’s name) is the school for me.
Go (school’s name)!

Thumbs Up Statements (Brenda Lee Hernandez)
Use your school’s character traits or let children make up original statements. Start the day by having them stick up their thumb as they repeat: 

I am respectful.
I am a good Citizen.
I am trustworthy.
I am responsible.
I am fair.
I am caring.
I use good manners.
I use kind words.
I can do it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Day 12 of our trip! 

Roller Coaster Rereads
Have children make a long line facing the same direction in their chairs or on the floor. They can reread poems, books, songs, etc. as they “ride the roller coaster.”

Cheez-It Measuring
Did you know that Cheez-Its are one inch squares? What a great way to measure!

Addtion Song
Sing addition facts to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.”
1 + 1 makes 2.
1 + 1 makes 2.
Hi ho, it’s adding you know.
1 + 1 makes 2.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Day 11 of our trip!

Number Book
Create a take home number book that every child can add to. (A spiral notebook would work well. Include a note so parents will know what to do.) The first child takes the book home and makes a set of one on the first page. The second child takes the book home and makes a set of two on the second page. The third child….etc.

Line Up Chant (Kelley DiBella)
1, 2 Listen and do.
3, 4 Face the door.
5, 6 Fingers on lips.
7, 8 Stand up straight.
9, 10 Let quiet walking begin.

Wall Push Ups
While children are waiting and standing in line in the hall encourage them to do push ups against the wall.

Smart Dots (Tammy England)
Use scented lip balm to focus children’s attention. Put a “smart dot” with the lip balm on their hand when they are listening quietly, lining up, etc.


Monday, February 17, 2014


Day 10 of our trip!

Karaoke Kafe (Pam Stonecipher)
Encourage children to share their stories, journals, and other writing with Karaoke Kafe. Provide a play microphone and special chair where they can sit and read to classmates. Younger children could recite nursery rhymes.

Pass the Mike Recall (Marsha Edwards)
At the end of the day sit or stand in a circle. Use a plastic microphone or cylinder block as you chant:
Pass the mike.
Pass the mike.
What do you have to say?
Pass the mike.
Pass the mike.
Tell what you liked (or learned) today.
(Pass the mike to several children and let them tell what they learned or liked.)

Let’s Go!
(Tune: “It’s Raining”)
Let’s go.
Let’s go.
L –e –t –s (Spell out the last two words)
G – o.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Day 9 of our trip!

Wacky Sentences (Vanessa Morton)
This game is a take off from Eric Carle’s HEAD TO TOE. Create noun cards (children’s names, animals, etc.) and verb cards. Uses different colors of poster board or index cards for the nouns and verbs. Draw stick figures acting out the verbs. Children draw a card from each pile and then make up a “wacky” sentence with the noun and the verb.
*Older children could write the wacky sentence and then draw a picture of it.

Four Seasons
(Lisa Powers)
(Tune: “Frere Jacques”)
Four seasons,
Four seasons
Here we go.
Here we go.
Winter, spring, summer, fall.
Winter, spring, summer, fall.
Seasons come.
Seasons go.

Tattle Hot Line (Kelley DiBella)
Put an old phone in the classroom. When the children start to tattle send them to the phone and say, “Leave a message. I’ll check it later.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Day 8 of our trip!

6 vs. 9 (Donna Bell)
Use this rhyme to help children discriminate #6 from #9.
Number 6 is always sick.
Holds his head down, ick, ick, ick! (Bend head down.)
Number 9 is always fine.
Holds his head up all the time! (Hold head up tall.)

Word Wall Ball
(Lynn Urban)
Students earn a bead for each word wall word they learn and string it on a necklace. Once all word wall words have been learned, they earn a star bead. In the spring celebrate with a BALL! Students wear nice clothes and their word bead necklaces. Serve refreshments, and dance!
Quiet Poem (Jeannie Sartoni)
I am listening (hands to ears)
Can you tell? (hands at sides as if asking a question)
I can listen (hands to ears)
Very well. (thumbs up)
See my eyes? (point to eyes)
They look at you, (point outwards)
And my mouth (point to mouth)
Is quiet, too! (whisper last line and go “sh”)

Friday, February 14, 2014


Day 7 of our trip!

Peace and Love to YOU!
You can do this for your students and tell them to pass it on.
Peace (Make sign for peace.)
Love (Make sign for love.)
You (Point to someone.)

Left to Right! (Jane McPartland)
When doing choral reading have the students stand to the left of the room. As you read, take a step to the right for each word. At the end of the line jump “down” to the next line. Everyone moves back to the left and quickly moves to the right with every word until the end of the next line. Repeat until the end of the poem, chart, etc.
*You can also add movements and sound effects for punctuation. For example, clap for a period, jump for an exclamation point, and shrug shoulders for a question mark.

Air Hug (Jane McPartland)
Say, “Give me an air hug.” Students open arms and pretend to squeeze.

Air Kisses (Beth Jenkins)
Kiss your fingertips numerous times as you scan the class. Blow kisses to all the children. Cross your arms across your chest and rub your arms as you say, “Feel the love.”

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Day 6 of our trip! 

Where Is Square?
Use the tune from “Where Is Thumbkin?” to reinforce colors, shapes, numerals, letters, etc. For example, children could each have a set of cards with the shapes (colors, words, letters, etc.) drawn on them. Store these in zip sandwich bags or lunch bags. Ask them to
 hold up the appropriate shape as you song: 
Where is square?
Where is square?
Here I am.
Here I am.
How are you today, square?
Very well, I thank you.
Back in the bag. 
Back in the bag.

Kindness Sprinkles (Christin Cannan) 
“Sprinkle” kindness (hands up and wiggle fingers) on the Star of the Week, Birthday Child, or for other occasions.

Good Job Rally (Veda Hamrick)
Have children form two lines facing each other. One at a time children walk between the two lines as friends give them "high five" and say, "Good job!"

Brain Nap (Elsa Jasso, El Paso)
When you need a few minutes to talk to the principal or deal with something tell the children, “Close your eyes and take a brain nap.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Day 5 of our trip!

Sight Word Sign (Phyllis Hodges)
Use this routine to help children remember sight words and spelling words:
Say the word as you sign the word.
Spell the word in sign language letters as you say the letters.
Say the word and sign the word.
*Go to and click on “dictionary” to learn the signs for words.

Book Connections 

Demonstrate how to touch index fingers to show you’ve made a connection with a book. To keep children engaged as you read, invite them to touch their index fingers whenever they “connect” with the book.

I Can Walk When I’m Inside (Tune: “Frog Went a-Courtin”)
I can walk when I’m inside, uh-huh, uh-huh.
I can walk when I’m inside uh-huh, uh-huh.
I can walk when I’m inside, outside’s when I run and slide,
Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

I can run when I’m outside, uh-huh, uh-huh.
I can run when I’m outside, uh-huh, uh-huh.
I can run when I’m outside, but I always walk when I’m inside
Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

Here’s another song to the tune of “Frog Went a-Courtin”:
Put your bottom on the rug, uh-huh, uh-huh.
Put your bottom on the rug, uh-huh, uh-huh.
Put your bottom on the rug, and give yourself a little hug,
Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Day 4 of our trip! 

Story Glove (Beth Blair)
Write the following on each finger of a cloth work glove:
Children use these prompts to recall a story.
*You can also send it home with a different child each night to practice retelling stories with their parents.
Morning Rock
Begin this pattern: stomp, stomp, clap ~ stomp, stomp, clap, etc.
(It’s similar to the beat of “We Will Rock You.”)
Say the chant below to the beat:
Teacher’s name class is super. (Stomp, stomp, clap.)
We think first child’s name is super. (Stomp, stomp, clap.)
We think second child’s name is super. (Stomp, stomp, clap.)
We think third child’s name is super. (Stomp, stomp, clap.)
And so on using each child’s name in the room.

Rock On Celebration 
Shirt, pants, shoes, socks –
We think our class really rocks!

Monday, February 10, 2014


Day 3 of our trip!

Blow a Balloon
Use this trick to focus children’s attention:
Get out your balloon. (Cup hands around mouth.)
Let’s blow it up.
Whooo! (Pretend to blow and extend hands
Whooo! a little each time as if the balloon
Whooo! is inflating.)
POP! (Clap hands as balloon pops!)

Song Balloons (Kathleen Salazar)
Cut paper balloons out of construction paper and write the names of songs on the balloons. Spread them out at circle time and let children take turns picking a “balloon” for the class to sing.
*Write the names of songs on strips of paper and place them in plastic eggs. Children pick

an egg and then open it to see what song they will sing. 

Zip It, Hip It, Lip It! (Erin Mensing)
To get the children ready for the hallway say:
Zip it. (Pretend to zip lips.)
Hip it. (One hand on hip.)
Lip it. (One finger on lips.)

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Day 2 of our trip!


Before reading a book “walk about” the pictures and encourage the children to make predictions. Read and compare their predictions with what actually happened.
*What does a “walkabout” mean in Australia? How can you find out?

Scatter and Read (Melissa Webb)
Teach your students how to do this at the beginning of the school year and practice, practice, practice! Whenever the teacher says, “Scatter and Read” the children stop, go quickly and get their book box, and then go to their special reading spot. This works perfectly for a productive break, when an administrator comes to the door, etc.
Hint! Let them choose a new spot at the beginning of each month.

Pipe Cleaner Counting
(Angelica Lara, El Paso)
Put 10 beads on a pipe cleaner (knotting the pipe cleaner on the ends). Children can slide the beads horizontally from left to right as they count to ten – then flip it over and count from 11-20. Keep flipping as you count as high as you want.
*Angelica also says they hold the pipe cleaner vertically to count the number of words in a sentence.

Quiet Man (Candace Reed)
Make "quiet man" with your fingers by sticking up pinky and pointer and touching thumb, ring man, and tall man. When the teacher holds up "quiet man" the children respond by making "quiet man" and focusing on the teacher.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Eleven years ago I was invited to be a guest speaker in Australia. I fell in love with the country and the people, and I’ve been trying to “sell” my husband on going there with me ever since. Finally, we are about to take the trip of a lifetime. Being gone 3 weeks and traveling on a plane for 20+ hours takes a lot of “saving” and a lot of work! This is the BIG day and we will be up, up, and away to the “land down under.” Just like you, I’ve done my “lesson plans” ahead of time so you’ll be getting a daily blog from me. I’m not sure what the internet service will be like, but I’ll try and take some pictures along the way to share with you. And, while I’m gone, I’ve got a little “happie” for you each day. What’s a “happie” you say? Well, not every day is perfect, but a “happie” is something to add a smile to your classroom. 

Day 1
This is a song I learned when I visited Australia over ten years ago. It goes to
the tune of “A Ram Sam Sam.” (Cocky refers to the cockatiel.)

A kangaroo, (Arms up like paws and jump.)
A kangaroo,
Frill necked lizard, (Palms open by neck like a collar.)
And a kangaroo.

A kangaroo,
A kangaroo,
Frill necked lizard,
And a kangaroo.

A cocky, (Hands in armpits and flap like wings.)
A cocky,
Frill necked lizard
And a kangaroo.

A cocky,
A cocky,
Frill necked lizard
And a kangaroo.

*Do a search on the internet to see what a frill necked lizard and cockatiel look like. Where is Australia on the globe?

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

I presented at the Early Childhood Methodist Conference in Houston last week and look at these great ideas I “snapped.”

Put a little shaving cream in a heavy-duty gallon zip bag. Eyes and nose on the outside and a carrot made of fun foam on the inside. Even I couldn’t resist playing with this! 

(The maracas on the side are plastic eggs with beans taped to a spoon.)

Now, is this clever or what??? Let children practice small motor skills with stickies on a pizza pan. Talk about no fuss and no muss!

Hooroo! (Aussie for good-bye!)

Friday, February 7, 2014


Have your kids got a bad case of the “wiggle worms”? Here’s a simple song that will leave you giggling instead of wiggling!
My Aunt Came Back
(Tune: “How Dry I Am!”)
My aunt came back (children repeat each line)
From old Japan
And brought me back
A paper fan. (Hold up your right hand and wave it back and forth like a fan.
                         You will continue doing this through the rest of the song.)

My aunt came back
From Holland, too,
And brought me back
A wooden shoe. (Begin tapping your left foot as you fan.)

My aunt came back
From Algiers
And brought me back
A pair of shears. (Hold up left hand and open and close index and middle
                              fingers like a pair of scissors as you tap and fan.)

My aunt came back
From Belgium
And brought me back
Some bubblegum. (Start smacking your lips as if chewing gum as you make 
                           other movements.) 

My aunt came back
From Chile
And brought me back
An itchy flea. (Wiggle all over as you make above movements.)

My aunt came back
From the city zoo
And brought me back
Some nuts like you! (Point your finger at everyone!)

Wiggle Worm Game – Make flash cards more fun by adding a few joke cards that say “wiggle worms.” When that card comes up, children stand and wiggle, wiggle!
Check out the website where you can get lots of FREE movement ideas.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Children LOVE to perform! When you act out stories you are developing social skills, oral language, recall, and so many other standards. Select children to play the different characters in this story. You will need: grandpa, grandma, granddaughter, dog, cat, mouse. Have them act the story out as you read it. The remainder of the class can join in on the chorus.

Once there was a grandpa who planted a wonderful vegetable garden. He grew corn, beans, peas, tomatoes, carrots, and many, many vegetables. But his prize plant was his turnips. He grew the biggest turnips in the whole county!
One fine summer morning he decided to pull up one of those turnips for dinner. So he looked around until he found a great, big, enormous turnips. He grabbed on to the stem and…

He pulled and pulled left. (Pretend to pull left.)
He pulled and pulled right. (Pretend to pull right.)
He pulled and pulled (Pull from the front.)
With strength and might,
But he couldn’t pull up the turnip. (Hold up palms and shake head.)
*So grandpa went and got grandma. Grandpa pulled the turnip, grandma pulled grandpa and….CHORUS (Adapt to “They pulled…”)

*So grandma went and got the granddaughter. Grandpa pulled the turnip, grandma pulled grandpa, the granddaughter pulled grandma and…CHORUS.

*So the granddaughter went and got the dog. Grandpa pulled the turnip, grandma pulled grandpa, the granddaughter pulled grandma, the dog pulled the granddaughter and…CHORUS.

*So the dog went and got the cat. Grandpa pulled the turnip, grandma pulled grandpa, the granddaughter pulled grandma, the dog pulled the granddaughter, the cat pulled the dog and…CHORUS.

Just then a little mouse happened to walk by. “What ya’ doin’?” asked the mouse. “We’re trying to pull up this great, big, enormous turnip,” they all said. “Can I help you?” asked the mouse. “Oh, you’re too small,” they all replied. “Well, let me try. I think I can help you do it,” said the mouse.

*So grandpa pulled the turnip, grandma pulled grandpa, the granddaughter pulled grandma, the dog pulled the granddaughter, the cat pulled the dog, the mouse pulled the cat and…
They pulled and pulled left.
They pulled and pulled right.
They pulled and pulled
With strength and might,
And POP!
Up came the turnip.

And the little mouse said, “I told you so!”

Hint! Act out the same story many times so every child can have a role. Repetition is a powerful thing!

*Read different versions of this story and compare and contrast.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This was my second visit to Cooper Elementary in Derby, KS, and that school has got it figured out! Clear expectations, practice, modeling, consistency, positive every time! When they have an assembly the children sit in vertical rows with their class from kindergarten through the upper grades. Because they know exactly
where to sit and what is expected of them, the discipline problems disappear. Everybody SINGS because the principal is a good model and the teachers are all enthusiastic. The little kids see the big kids (Don't tell me that 4th and 5th graders don't like to sing!) dancing and having fun so they realize it's the "cool" thing to do.

Wash, Wash, Wash Your Germs (Kate Brown)
Sing this song to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" when children use wipes or wash hands.
Wash, wash, wash your germs.
Wash your germs away.
So that you do not get sick
and you can play all day!

Birthday Book (K Teachers at Anderson El.)
Cut the front and back of a gift bag. Give each child a sheet of paper that says, "If I could go to the store and buy you a birthday present I would buy __________." Staple their pictures in the gift bag cover.

Body Writing (Paige Savage)
Use your body to practice writing letters. Your head is the top line. Your belly button is your middle line. Your toes are the bottom line. Start at your head for tall letters and the belly button for short letters.
For example:
Capital T - Start at your head and straight down. Pick up your pencil and add his hat.
Lowercase t - Start at the head and straight down. Pick up your pencil and add his belt.

First Day Bracelet (Angel Sinclair)
Tear a strip off an envelope and write each child's name on it. They can use it as a bracelet the first week so the special teachers know their name.

Classroom Password (Michelle Ramaeker)
Write a letter, sight word, number, etc. on the classroom window. Students have to tell the door helper the password to enter the room

Tattling Tip (Robin Osborne)
When children tattle ask them if they are trying to keep someone safe or get someone in trouble.

Kindness Book
Make a "Kindness Book" from a pocket folder, spiral notebook, or composition book. Children get to sign their name in the book if they are caught being kind.

U for Underwear (Sandra Goodchild) Seal an envelope and cut in half. Cut as shown and insert your fingers. U is for underwear.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I didn’t find the Emerald City last week in Kansas and Missouri, but I found some great ideas for you today and tomorrow. (I also learned that you don’t want to try and fly through Atlanta after a snowstorm!!! After 30 hours of clicking my heels I was happy to get home!) 

B and D
"b" is a bat and then a ball.
"d" is the doorknob and then the door.
Sky Writing (Jody Daily)
Cut a swim noodle in thirds. Practice writing strokes in the air with the noodle. Children can use one or two hands to hold their noodle. Give oral directions:
"h" Tall line down, back up, and make a hump.
*To control the talking and hold the noodles still call "Statue of Liberty." All students hold their noodle in the air.

Mrs. Coslett Is Messy! (Jen Coslett)
Dump beads, foam cubes, etc. all over the rug and say, "Oh my, (teacher's name) is so messy!" Children use tongs or "go" fingers (thumb and index finger) to clean up the mess. They’ll have fun working together as they develop small motor skills.

Preschool Clubs (Laney Brightbill)
Make posters that describe self-help skills. Once children can do they skill they get to add their picture and name to the club. For example:
-Button club
-Zipper club
-Glove club
-Shoe tying club
-Jacket club

Simple Sentences (Pam Dreiling) 

Children cut a picture of something they like from a magazine and glue it to the right end of a sentence strip. The teacher writes "I like ______" as shown. Bend the right end over the picture so the first letter of the word is showing. Children can "read" their own book!

Classroom Timer (Alisha Felts)
When it's time to pick up indoor recess or another mess, set a timer on the computer and project it on the board as you play the "Jeopardy" theme. Children can see how much time they have left to pick up and the music reminds them to stay on task!
*Alisha's mother is also a kindergarten teacher! Aren't you proud, mom? (Robin Osborne)
This is an awesome website designed for reading disabilities, but it has wonderful FREE downloadable tips and games.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Abraham Lincoln was my father's favorite President. I mean, who wouldn't fall in love with a guy born in a log cabin who had to walk miles to school in the snow? As an adult, the more I learned about Lincoln, the more my heart ached for the tragic personal life this great leader endured. As with many, he has received increased love and respect since his passing.

Abraham Lincoln
(Tune: “Pop Goes the Weasel”)
Abraham Lincoln, past President, (Point to a picture of Lincoln.)
Loved and honored by many.
To help us remember this famous man,
We put his face on a penny.
Hold a penny in your hand (Hold up a penny.)
And his face you’ll see.
He always tried to tell the truth.
He’s Honest Abe to me.
*Download the book to go with the song on my February, 2007, website.

Log Cabin Snack – Give children pretzel twist sticks and a spoonful of peanut butter or cream cheese. Children try to build a log cabin by stacking the pretzels with the peanut butter.

*Use cream cheese if there are peanut allergies in your classroom.

Penny Inspection – Let children look at pennies with a magnifying glass.

Rubbings – Make rubbings of pennies.

Penny, Penny – Three children leave the classroom. The other children cup their hands as if holding a penny. The teacher hides the penny in one child’s hand. When the three children return to the room, they walk around the room and open their friends’ hands. The first one to find the penny gets to choose 3 new friends to leave the room and she gets to hide the penny.

Time Line – Give children a sentence strip. At the left write the year they were born. Write each additional year up until the present. Children take the time line home and try to find a penny with each year’s date.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


On my website this month you’ll find lots of ideas for getting children ready to write. Although the focus will be on pre-writing activities, most of the ideas can be adapted for letters, numerals, shapes, words, and other skills. A key principle for early childhood is to go from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract. If you want children to develop writing skills, you have to offer them a wide variety of engaging experiences where they can learn as they play. The road to Common Core State Standards will be much more fun with these songs and multi-sensory materials.

How about a free song download called “Pencil Grip”?
Pencil Grip
(Tune: “Where Is Thumbkin?”)
Where is Pointer?
On the top.
Ready to write.
Start at the top.

Where is Thumbkin?
On the side.
Ready to help
Your pencil glide.

Where is Tallman?
On the bottom.
Keeps the letters
Where you want ‘em.

There are several basic strokes that children need to draw before expecting them to 
write. In order of development they are a vertical line, a horizontal line, a circle, a cross, a square, a diagonal line, an X, and a triangle. These skills can be nurtured through
some of these multi-sensory activities.
Sensory Tub – Fill the bottom of a plastic tub with sand, rice, salt, grits, or another sensory material. Children can practice making strokes, shapes, and letters in the tub.
*Hint! Have children wash their hands before and after using these materials.
Copy Cat Cards – Make pre-writing strokes on squares of cardstock similar to the ones shown. Children can look at these cards and try to “copy” the strokes in the sensory tub.

That's my little "appetizer"?  I think you'll just have to go to my website to learn more about gym time for fingers, pencil power, body writing, and left and right!

P.S.  I found some great FREE pre-writing worksheets on TPT that you can download.  The links are on my website.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


This is a simple Valentine gift that parents will treasure.  Let children wrap a small box or a piece of Styrofoam with wrapping paper and a ribbon.  (It would be extra special if the children designed their own wrapping paper.) Add this note:
            Here is a little gift
            That you can never see.           
            The reason it’s so special,
                        It’s just for you from me.
            Whenever you are lonely,
            Or even feeling blue,
            You only have to hold this box
            And know I think of you.
            Please never unwrap it,
                        And leave the ribbon tied.
            Just hold the box close to your heart,
                        It’s filled with love inside.

Here’s one of my favorite cards you can make from a flip book.  Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise (hotdog).  Fold in half again (hamburger).  Fold again (juice box).  Open and cut down three creased lines to the center fold as shown.  Fold in half to make little flips you can lift up.  

Draw packages as shown and write the following:
                  Some gifts are round.
                  Some gifts are tall.
                  Some gifts are large.
                  Some gifts are small.
Open and write:
                  But a gift from the heart is the best gift of all. 
*Glue the child’s photo or let them draw their picture on the inside.